Reflecting on his predecessor’s passing, Archbishop Nolan of Glasgow said: “The death of Archbishop Mario will be felt not just in the Archdiocese of Glasgow, but across Scotland and beyond. He was a much-loved figure, a man of great energy and pastoral zeal, who loved the Church and the people in his care.”
Mario Conti was born in the town of Elgin, Moray, in Scotland, on March 20, 1934, and he later attended St. Mary’s College, Blairs, Aberdeenshire.
Conti had always said he wanted to be a priest for as long as he could remember. After leaving St. Mary’s, he went on to study at the Scots College and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He graduated in philosophy and theology and was finally ordained a priest in Rome on Oct. 26, 1958.
After serving as a parish priest in Wick and Thurso, situated in the far North of Scotland, he was ordained bishop of Aberdeen in May 1977. Until his death earlier this week, Mario Conti was one of the few surviving members of the clergy appointed bishop during the pontificate of Pope Paul VI, who presided over the historic Second Vatican Council and the promulgation of the encyclical Humanae Vitae.
Twenty-five years after his ordination as bishop of Aberdeen, he was made archbishop of Glasgow in 2002, where he presided over the renovation of the famous St. Andrew’s Cathedral during his time there. Following the announcement of his death, Paul Sweeney, a member of the Labour Party and the Scottish Parliament, tweeted: “It is sad news that Archbishop Emeritus of Glasgow, Mario Conti, has died tonight … His finest legacy will be the beautiful restoration of Glasgow Metropolitan Cathedral. Requiescat in pace.”
According to a statement from the Archdiocese of Glasgow, Conti was reputed for his expertise in ecumenism and interreligious dialogue and his concern for the situation in the Holy Land. It also said that one of his proudest moments was welcoming Pope Benedict XVI to Bellahouston Park during his papal visit to the U.K. in 2010.